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Adulting + Life Thoughts

The holiday season is my favorite. I get sentimental, reach out to old friends, and constantly think about how I’ve spent the past ten Decembers. Every year is different, and I really do love that.

This reflection tends to lead me to a reflection of the past year. 2016 has beenΒ rough. I thought it was going to be this great year. Find the perfect job and apartment in the perfect city with a guy that’s perfect for me. Well I’m still living with Matt, we’re incredibly happy and our apartment’s really nice (but ya know we’re thinking of moving)

In reality this year has been made up of hundreds of job applications, tears, laughs, and moments where I’m about a centimeter away from being pushed over what I thought was my ledge. There have been so many times where I thought I had reached my limit, where I thought how much more could I possibly take? How many more rejections, fights, and unclear relationships would I take before breaking down?

Well the answer is much more than I thought.

Have you thought “Okay this is when I’m going to catch a break. This is going to be my big moment, my hallelujah chorus, light streaming down from the heaven, hometown hero moment.” I thought I was going to have one of those when I got a great position in September.

But along came another really hard lesson, what I thought I wanted wasn’t actually what I wanted. This big opportunity made me question my abilities, my career path, and even myself.

I sucked it up, after my family and friends were real troopers and told me everything was going to be okay. I got sick of constantly being a debbie downer when talking with my friends and family on the phone so I looked on the bright-side. I then doubled-down on my job search and tried to give myself a light at the end of the tunnel.

This moment sucked to be honest.

I really didn’t want to keep going to work, but knew that I had to. We needed the money and I’m not one for living off my significant other. I didn’t want to give up on something just because it was hard or because I really didn’t like it. Mama (and Dad) didn’t raise a quitter.

Let me tell you that I use the internet to google stuff all the time. I google stuff to see if anyone else in the world is going through what I am. I google stuff to see if I can figure it out without asking my fiance for help. If you saw my Google search history, all of you would be like “What in God’s name do you think of during the day?”

Guess what? There was no answer on the internet for this problem. I was lacking series self-confidence and felt ashamed that my life isn’t what I thought it was going to be. I was a little relieved we weren’t going home for Thanksgiving so I didn’t have to talk to friends and family about my job, because I thought that I should be further along than I was.

I was ashamed to talk to my fiance’s friends about what I was doing, because most of them are incredibly successful for our age.

But guess what? Literally nobody cares. I was the only one who was thinking that because people aren’t focused on my job, they’re focused on my personality and generally my “funny” stories of embarrassing things that I do daily.

Then I started to rationalize as to why I hadn’t gotten a permanent job yet in my field.

Was it because I had gotten into a big fight with one of my best friends from college? Was it because I spent the first half of my year trying to figure out if my path was what I actually wanted? Was it I didn’t pray enough or donate enough or ate healthy enough?

I spent a whole crap-load of time feeling sorry for myself and trying to be the perfect person. Well news-flash Ashley, there’s no such thing. Then I was like “maybe other parts of my life are going too well so this part of my life can’t go well either.” Yeah that was really stupid too.

So basically this long winded post is about the fact that sometimes you just have to wait for it to happen. You can make things happen, but sometimes there are so many lessons waiting for you in the “in-between.”

Here’s what I’ve learned in my “in-between”

-I love to write. I miss writing and I’m hoping my job will include writing. If it doesn’t, thank god for my blog.

-Matt and I have a strong partnership. He’s held me up during this time and I’ve held him up. With him I’m pretty sure I can do anything. It’s also taught me I won’t ever settle for anything less again because I deserve a partner like that. Also, I encourage my friends and family to never settle for anything less either in a life partner.

-My girlfriends are actual gold. Without their support I don’t know what I would do. Having friends that you can rely on through thick and thin is so important. Matt is wonderful and amazing, but if we hadn’t gotten back together I’d still be great because I have my girlfriends.

– You have got to get out of your comfort zone. When I’m scared I tend to hole up in my comfort zone and not move. But holy crap do I need to stop. I’m never going to grow if I don’t go make new friends, join new groups or try new skills. That’s my goal for 2017, is to really put down roots here in Boston.

– Patience, hard work, and persistence will get you through. So as of right now I don’t have anything to prove this theory, but it’s what is getting me through. Having patience with the process, working hard and not stopping until you get what you want is so important. You never know when an email or phone call is going to come. So keep working, (even if your job isn’t what you want), keep applying for jobs, keep working on your side hustle and keep believing in yourself. It’s going to come, trust me.

-Family is everything. Calling my family makes me feel so much better about myself, and they know exactly how far I’ve come. Β I say this a lot, but your family relationships are what you make of them. So call your mom more than once a month, call you grandma and start to really get to know your in-laws (if you have any).

-You have to embrace the now. My job isn’t perfect, but it’s giving me to ability to get my foot in the door, plan my wedding, and focus on my blog. I have time to spend with Matt as we learn how to live together.

-No one’s life is perfect. That blogger who’s insta is amazing and blog seems perfect? There’s something going on there. Your high school acquaintance who is living in a different country and has a dream job? They could have gone through some rough stuff to get there. We’re all human, our lives ebb and flow. Friends from home think that life is really glamorous out in Boston, and it really isn’t. I am blessed to be living here but it doesn’t make my life automatically all that much better.

-Since there’s not instruction manual, there’s not a wrong way to do something. Remember when you graduated college and you were like “so what now?” YOU CAN DO WHAT EVER YOU WANT. You can travel the world, you can go to work. You can get married young or old, you can make a billion dollars or just make enough to have fun. NO ONE REALLY CARES. Just be a decent human being and you’re doing life right. That’s all. It’s scary because there isn’t a clear cut way to go, and uncertainity can be sscary. But you can make your own plan, so own it!

– Someone else doing well does not mean you won’t. Let me repeat that. Someone else doing well does not mean you won’t. Celebrate other people, celebrate your people, celebrate that random sorority sister on Facebook because life is short and celebrating is fun.

The struggle may be just what you need.

This year has been hard, and as of right now there isn’t necessarily this great light at the end of the tunnel. But you know what? I think this struggle is what I needed. I believe that this has taught me to be a little less selfish, to care a whole lot less what other people think, and exactly who’s going to pick up my phone call when I’m crying in my bed.

Whew. That was long. It’s been sitting on my chest, and I wanted other people to know that you’re not alone. That life is not linear and that’s honestly the beauty of. Thanks for sticking with me.

I believe in you. I believe in your struggle, and I believe that you’re going to be happy with your life.

Please let me know what you’re working on, what you’re struggling with, and what you’re celebrating in the comments!

xoxo

Ashley

 

PS Do we hate these posts? Or love them? Are they too long? Thanks for hanging in there, I love all of you!

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  • I love this post so much Ashley! I’ve thought a lot about what post-grad will be like for me, and I’ve had to remind myself that I won’t automatically find the perfect job and apartment and all that. It’s hard to “dance in the gray” and just kind of live in the in-between. I think that can cause me a lot of my anxiety sometimes! But you’re right – realizing what you’ve got (a good partner, family, friends, etc.) can really help you stay sane and be happy. I am wishing and praying for the best year for you in 2017! I know you’ll do great things!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I’ve been struggling with anxiety, and I would be lying if I said I hadn’t spent a night or two crying on our couch because of it. But I have faith everything will work out! Thank you for your prayers and support! <3

  • Greta Hollar

    This was a beautifully written post. I’m sorry 2016 has been a hard year for you. But it sounds like you’ve come a long way and grown a lot as a person this year. I hope 2017 is a wonderful year for you!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

    • Thank you Greta! We all need years like 2016, I’m very proud of the person I’ve become this year. I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a great 2017!

  • Elly Leavitt

    Girl, I so feel you on this. I spent a quarter of 2016 in a legit life crisis not being able to figure out what i wanted to do (internship vs. job, what medium I want to work in, what industry…) and I’m still not 100% there but hoping 2017 works out for the best! and good luck to you too, sounds like you have a great support group going xx

    • Sometimes I think we all need to hear “me too” so we don’t feel alone! All I can say is that I’ve tried so many things, and never once have I regretted trying something. 2017 will be a great year, I can feel it! Best of luck to you as well!

  • That first quote speaks to me on so many levels! There’s really almost no way to see the good in a tough life situation till after you’ve weathered the storm and made it through to the other side… only then do you realize and appreciate your own strength πŸ™‚

    • 100% agree with you! The best way out is through, and you never know what you’re capable of until after you’ve conquered it!

  • Ashley, thank you so much for this post. THIS is such a good read and so honest. 2016 had it’s moments for me. It was beautiful and painful but I’m ready to move on.
    This is your reminder that you’re 22– you don’t have to have it figured out. PS if I ever move to Boston we’re becoming besties, okay? <3 <3

    • I’m so glad you liked it! I love “it was beautiful and painful”! I am only 22 haha, I need to remember that. My old soul sometimes forgets!
      Girl if you are ever in Boston I already have the best place for Margs. We’ll go grab some and I have a feeling we’ll be fast friends! Thank you for your support!
      xoxo

  • This is such an insightful and beautifully written post – I hope 2017 is an amazing year for you Ashley!

    http://www.diaryofatorontogirl.com

    • Thank you so much Jessica! I hope that you have a wonderful 2017 as well!

  • Love your heart, Ashley! Thank you for opening up and being vulnerable with us. I think we can all resonate with this in some way. <3

  • I love reading these posts, it’s like I get a big sister to give me solid life advice. I hope 2017 is a better year for you and you can take all that you’ve learned with you going forward! <3

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

    • I’m glad you felt like that, that’s my goal! Thank you so much. Blessings for a very happy new year Kayla!

  • Ah I could relate way too much! The in between stage can be hard but well worth it in the end!

  • I love this so much! The struggle is totally needed sometimes. I hope next year is a little easier for oyu.

  • I love this so much! I love reading peoples insights on these types of things. 2016 was not my best year either, so I wish the best for 2017 for both of us! x, kenz http://sincerelykenz.com

    • Praying for a much better year for the both of us, I’m glad you liked it! xoxo

  • Amy

    Such a great read and great advice. I hope next year is so much better for you!!

    xoxo,

    Amy | Pastel N Pink

    • Thank you Amy, I hope you have a great new year as well!

  • Victoria Stacey

    I’m glad you’ve been able to find the highlights in your time of being down. I hope only the best happens in 2017!

    • Thank you Victoria, there’s almost always a silver lining!

  • Michelle Mink

    I’ve been in a similar situation too about feeling embarrassed to talk about my work situation to friends or other peoples friends. But I’m celebrating following my dreams.

    • You should totally do that Michelle! Following your dreams is so brave, congratulations!
      xoxo

  • This is so perfect. 2016 has been a shit year for so many reasons, but it is so important to find all of the good things and understand all of what we ARE doing right! Keep on truckin’ girlfriend!

    • Thank you Tiffani! 2016 has been very rough, but you are so right! Celebrate the good things πŸ™‚

  • Audrey Stowe

    Aw what a great post. Thanks for being so honest and for all of the tips. Your ‘in between’ part spoke to me!!! Always so thankful for those people that are the ‘rock’ in our lives.

    • I’m so glad you were able to relate! Knowing other people are going through this or have felt similarly makes it so much better! The rocks in our lives deserve so much, I’m so grateful for mine! xoxo

  • I have tears in my eyes and I’m sitting here like YAAAAS ASH YAS.
    A.) Thank you for being honest and vulnerable and authentic like this. It’s amazing.
    B.) I 100% get where you’re coming from. I’ve been in a rough patch myself lately with anxiety, and it’s been killing me. I’m typing this on a “day off” because I physically burnt myself out – my body is aching, I’ve got a cold and my time of the month, I have ZERO voice, and I’m completely exhausted. Physically burnt out.
    C.) It all totally reinforces the importance of reaching out to friends and family with love and compassion and checking in on people. You really never know what people are going through.
    D.) Sharing this on Twitter!

    Coming Up Roses

    • Thank YOU for your encouraging words! This was a tough one to publish! My anxiety has been touch and go, and sometimes I have to completely leave my desk at work to get it together. I’m so happy you decided to take a day off and recharge. You deserve it girl. Being burnt out is so tough to bounce back from, but you’re already on your way! Our friends and family are just pure gold, and knowing that I can call them and they try to understand is so reassuring! Thank you for sharing, I appreciate it so much! xoxoxo

  • Rachel Mariana Timmerman

    This is such a sincere and honest post. This year hasn’t been the easiest. I always remind myself that we must keep pressing forward. It sounds like you’ve certainly grown and come a long way through everything that has happened. Such instances always make you stronger than you were before. Keep your head up, girl! You’re doing great πŸ™‚

  • Sami Mast

    I love these types of posts, it reminds everyone that we all aren’t perfect, and that it’s okay! Things may be a little crazy or unfortunate, but hopefully your hard work will culminate into something great!

    xo
    Sami
    http://www.theclassicbrunette.com

  • Your takeaways are so inspiring. It sounds like you have definitely come a long way and it doesn’t sound like 2016 was easy for anyone. I know it wasn’t for me either. Great post.

  • Adriana

    Family definitely IS everything!! So true! I love this post because I’m 22 also and found myself agreeing with nearly everything you said. Great post!

  • Alanna Martine Kilkeary

    great post!! would recommend you check out thelala.com ,, definitely could see this on there πŸ™‚

  • It’s awesome that you have such introspection on your life! I love reading these kind of posts– nobody is supposed to have it all figured out, and it’s nice to know you’re not alone in feeling lost or confused.

    xo,
    Stephanie
    Diary of a Debutante
    http://www.thediaryofadebutante.com